Being in a car accident while pregnant can cause extreme mental, emotional, and physical discomfort. While an accident can cause stress, confusion, and pain to everyone, the risks are greater for a woman who is expecting. Motor accidents can jeopardize the health of a mother and her unborn child and could entail high medical expenses.
Research indicates that there is a 42% greater likelihood of pregnant women being involved in a vehicle collision in comparison to when they are not pregnant. Another study revealed that in the US, between 1500 to 5000 deaths of fetuses happen each year due to the mother being in a car accident. Out of the nine cases that were examined in this study, eight women had not been wearing a seatbelt.
Typically, insurance companies will not reveal how much you can claim for your injuries which can make it difficult to know the compensation amount you are entitled to receive under the law. Seeking legal advice from a car accident attorney can enable you to gain knowledge and negotiate the claim amount you deserve. Let’s explore more closely what steps you need to take when you are in a car accident while pregnant.
What to do when you are in a car accident while pregnant
Medical attention is the first thing you need if you were in a car accident while pregnant. Even if you sustained minor injuries, the accident may have affected your unborn child. Call your healthcare provider and inform them about the accident.
After the incident, you might not know whether you should wait to see your doctor the next day or visit the emergency room on the same day. You need to make your decision based on the symptoms you are witnessing and the stage of pregnancy you are in currently. If you are experiencing symptoms such as loss of consciousness, vaginal bleeding, contractions, severe pain in the abdomen, etc., you need to visit the ER. If you were in a minor accident and there was not much impact to your abdomen, you could wait to schedule your appointment for the next day.
If you have suffered other injuries such as broken bones or fractures, visit a hospital and get yourself assessed. Once your condition is determined as stable, you can get an obstetric assessment to check the placenta and the fetus. You might be asked to remain under observation for several hours in case any issue is detected with the fetus. Once you have been released from the hospital, you need to monitor your health for symptoms including abdominal pain, leaking fluid, changes in the baby’s movement, etc.
Kinds of injuries women can suffer in car accidents
The type of injury you suffer in pregnancy depends on the type of car accident that happens to you. If you meet with a rear-end collision while pregnant, your settlement amount will be different from experiencing a minor dent in the vehicle. In this section, we will look at the types of injuries that you might suffer in a car accident:
- Abruption of the placenta: In some instances, a car accident can cause placental abruption in pregnant women. This is a serious medical condition in which the placenta detaches from the uterus prior to the birth of a child. An NIH study reports that the mortality rate in placental abruption cases was found to be 119 out of 1000. The connection between abruption of the placenta and premature delivery is a contributing factor to this statistic.
- Injury to the uterus: The uterus is highly susceptible to injury during a car accident because it becomes larger during pregnancy. Rupturing of the uterus can lead to internal bleeding and have life-threatening risks for both mother and child.
- Premature delivery: Research indicates that there is a positive correlation between victims of car accidents and early deliveries. A premature delivery happens when a child is born prior to 37 weeks within the pregnancy. Premature births are quite common and impact about one in ten infants born in the US each year. In some cases, it can be prevented by medication and other techniques.
- Miscarriage: In minor car accidents, the mother is able to protect the unborn baby entirely from injuries. However, in major car accidents, the baby is subjected to greater risks which the child can unfortunately not withstand. Miscarriages occur due to car accidents and entail enormous emotional and psychological pain for the mother and families.
- Pregnancy accompanied by high risks: Pregnancies are considered to be “high risk” when complications arise pertaining to the health of the mother or the child. Car accidents can sometimes be a contributing factor of such high-risk pregnancies. They can increase the risk of developing diseases in the unborn child or can cause miscarriages. Not only that, but high risk pregnancies also entail greater medical costs including ultrasound, medication, and physician visits. If your high risk pregnancy happened due to a car accident, you are entitled to receive compensation.
Kinds of injuries an unborn child can suffer in car accidents
A car accident can cause minor to severe injuries to your unborn baby. Direct injuries and premature delivery can lead to birth defects in infants. A study revealed that birth defects were twice more likely to happen to babies who are born prematurely in comparison to babies who were born closer to their due dates. Birth defects can lead to high expenses for treatment that includes medical procedures and rehabilitation.
Although direct fetal injury does not happen commonly, fetal brain injury can happen in the rarest of cases. Such injuries can be severe or even fatal. Wearing a seatbelt and airbags have proved to reduce the risk of babies suffering from such injuries in car accidents.
Ways in which a doctor can tell whether your unborn child has been injured
A doctor can conduct several tests immediately following a car accident to assess whether your baby has suffered any serious injuries. Doctors can also increase the frequency of hospital visits to closely monitor the health of the mother and her baby. Some techniques which they commonly use to assess the health of the baby include laboratory tests, ultrasound, examination of vaginal bleeding, and observing the heart condition of the baby.
Legal information you need to gather after your car accident
If you are involved in a car accident while pregnant, the first thing you need to do is to remain composed. You might feel stressed and worried for the health of your child but staying calm can enable you to take control of the situation. Make sure you are following these steps after the accident:
Attend to your medical needs
Focus on giving yourself and your child immediate medical attention. It is best to let someone else drive your vehicle or obtain a cab to the hospital instead of driving the vehicle by yourself.
Call emergency services
Call 911 and report the incident. Since you might not know the impact of the damage on your body, it is best to get medical assistance immediately to assess your injuries. Law enforcement needs to be present at the accident location so that they can write a report for use later as evidence.
Make sure you are out of the way of any oncoming traffic
As an aftermath of a car accident, you may feel disoriented and unable to think clearly. Remember to stay in your vehicle if you can continue to do so until medical personnel arrive. Otherwise, ensure that you are not standing in the path of traffic and get to a safe area.
Gather evidence from the scene
If you are able to move, collect some information at the accident scene which will help your personal injury settlement later. Obtain contact and insurance information of all parties who were involved. Take photographs of the accident scene including your injuries and the vehicles involved. If there are any witnesses, gather their contact information as well.
Follow your doctor’s advice
To ensure that you and your unborn child stay healthy after the accident, follow your doctor’s advice strictly. This includes making all required physician visits, performing ultrasound, taking medication, and so forth. It is vital that you follow this step to better protect your legal rights. Otherwise, your insurance company can emphasize that you have been exaggerating your injuries and deny your right to fair compensation for loss.
How your injuries can affect your personal injury settlement
You are entitled to compensation for all accident-related losses if the car accident occurred due to negligence on someone else’s part. Such losses include medical expenses, damages to your vehicle, lost wages, and other expenses. As someone who was in a car accident while pregnant, you might incur additional expenditures and losses.
Primarily, being in a car accident during pregnancy almost certainly involves greater medical costs. You will need to visit your gynecologist and might have to go through testing to ensure that you and your unborn child are safe and healthy. You may also require follow-up visits and more medication to overcome stress and trauma following the accident.
Following a motor accident, your pregnancy could be labeled as a high risk one which will require monitoring and medical care. In addition, a car accident can increase complications in your pregnancy and cause you to deliver your baby prematurely. You may need emergency care and c-section to deliver your baby. This is an unexpected expenditure which can amount to thousands or even millions of dollars.
Further, your physician might ask you to refrain from going to work and instead get rest as part of your recovery plan. The time that you spend away from work due to being in a car accident is a loss which you can get compensated for in your personal injury lawsuit in California.
In some instances, the trauma resulting from an accident can unfortunately cause your child to have severe birth-related defects. Physical disabilities can be long-term and could change the way you care for your child. For instance, you may have to transform your house to accommodate wheelchair access for your child. The psychological, emotional, and financial losses in such cases are extreme, and the last loss can be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit.
Timeline for settling your personal injury case
The timeline for settling your personal injury lawsuit varies on a case-by-case basis. You might be skeptical about handling legal issues when caring for your health and that of your unborn child. Working with a personal injury lawyer can relieve you of the stress of handling legal complications by yourself.
You are entitled to compensation for all losses incurred as a consequence of the negligence of the other driver. It is important for you to determine the full range of your damages to understand the compensation that you deserve. Cases involving minor injuries to a pregnant woman and her unborn child might be safely settled upon obtaining medical details from the doctor. However, in a large number of cases, it is not possible to determine the full extent of injuries facing a yet unborn child in advance.
Working with a California personal injury attorney can enable you to gain a better understanding of the timeline needed to settle your personal injury lawsuit. Though it might take some time to settle your case, it is important that you wait for an in-depth investigation of your claims to improve your chances of getting a fair compensation.
How a car accident attorney can assist you
If you were in a car accident while pregnant, you require a reliable auto accident personal injury attorney who will fight for what you deserve. An attorney can work with your insurance company for your car accident claims. They will assist with reaching a settlement for your vehicle damages and medical expenses you incur due to being in an accident. Since car accidents entail trauma, grief, and discomfort for every victim, you do not have to be alone in navigating this. Having an attorney can enable you to attend to complicated legal matters during a challenging time. If you would like more information about your personal injury case, contact Kuzyk Law firm today.